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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Thursday, March 17, 2011

thoughts on style...

What motivates your writing? Is it the characters you make up or who walk in your life and demand to be written about or is it your love of language that spurs you to paint pictures with your words or is it the story that grabs you and says it must be told?

Are you a seat of the pants writer or do you plot out your stories before you begin? I've been reading Elizabeth George's book on writing called "Write Away". She is definitely NOT a seat of the pants writer. Her characters are so well developed before she begins that she knows how a fifty-year-old got a scar on his chin when he was seven! And this meticulous attention to detail is what makes her books so good.

Her book has me thinking about character development. It is important to know and understand all their idiosyncrasies so that you can add the little tics that set them apart...shrugging, winking, hand-wringing, all the physical details that enrich your writing. She also mentions the importance of tension and flawed characters. Who wants to read about someone's perfect life? We all want to identify with the protagonist and to a certain degree with the antagonist as well--every character needs to have a motivation for the idiotic, cruel or stupid things they do. And they need to grow and change during the course of the story.

Plotting and outlining are method that many writers employ. I know this would be a wonderful exercise for me since I never could understand the use of an outline...Lately I have painted myself into a corner with a mystery story--is there such a thing as too much tension? I think I've achieved it--not a moments rest for the reader. But then again, in first person present it is easy to get carried away.

Just some thoughts...let me know how you write...do you use an outline? do you start a story and see where it leads? or do you do something completely different? Every one of us has a unique style and possibly more than one style depending on the tense and/or genre we're writing in.

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